Nobody teaches you about trousers at school. There is no Trouser 101 between Biology and Algebra classes, where young men are sat down and taught about inseams and pleats. You need to have grown up visiting a tailor. Or had ludicrously picky parents. For the vast majority of us, smart trousers were for school or church.
This makes trousers a bit of an unattractive proposition. It becomes an extension of a uniform, a chore. Unless you develop an interest in classic tailoring, this carries on through to adulthood. And so, badly-fitted or skinny, nut-crushing strides become common at the workplace. Or at cocktail bars and clubs.
Life’s tough as it is without obsessing over the perfect fitting trousers. But they make all the difference in a man’s confidence. I’ve always had an odd body shape, with those bulbous chicken thighs. And yet whenever I picture the ideal version of myself, I’m in a pair of perfectly-fitted trousers; like those from sepia-photographs of my grandfather.
The past year, I’ve been experimenting with a higher waistband. It’s been a struggle, to tell the truth, not to wear them like Urkel or Oliver Hardy (with the waistband up to my chest). After a few attempts though, and the right brands, suddenly the proportions came together. You need to be aware of where they sit at the waist, the break over the shoe, and the width. Higher-waisted trousers can be deceiving. Many designers craft the crotch area wrong and elongate it. Fail-safe choices would be Casatlantic or the Scott Fraser Collection. Give those a try, and snap: Paul Newman drinking Sazeracs with Joanne Woodward. Or Gunther Sachs on a yacht.
Brands like these encapsulate the power of a good trouser. Trousers tie it all together, introducing stability to the most unappealing, oddly-shaped area of all human anatomy. They work like the base colour of a painting. So when they’re off, you look off: and that’s the key reason why we gawp with dismay as the stampede of poorly-fitted suits on the morning commute. Trouser measurements were a fact of life at one time. It’s surprising how few people consider their own today, and the difference it makes to a man’s confidence. Perhaps Trouser 101 should be on the curriculum.
Originally posted as part of the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail. Join now!